Friday, May 30, 2014

Doing my homework.

I was just doing some homework for my next book, "the doctor's wife" and found I'd mixed up some things. It may make it easier if they're correct.

  • The doctor's wife was actually a beautiful young doctor's widow. She was living in Mt. Holly and her dalliance with the Hessian Colonel Donop helped keep his brigade out of the way during the assault on Trenton. Donop and Rall (in Trenton) were not the best of friends, so it probably didn't take much to entice him away. There was a different woman in Trenton who took pot-shots during the battle and killed a Hessian captain. By the way the oft-told story that the Germans were drunk out of their skulls was a canard invented by their British employers to explain why an isolated outpost was left in such a vulnerable position.
  • She was almost certainly a rebel spy, and almost certainly recruited by Robert Morris or his wife Margaret Morris. He wasn't just a rich Philadelphia businessman who used his fiscal skills to keep the rebel army alive, he recruited agents and ran an intelligence service throughout the war. It could have been Washington who recruited her, but he was otherwise detained at the time.
  • Colonel Donop was not a very sympathetic character. Scared by the defeats at Trenton, Trenton again and Princeton he evacuated Southern New Jersey (obligate New Jersey joke here - who wouldn't?). He took 150 wagons of plunder but left his wounded and ill soldiers behind. He certainly had his priorities straight.
  • Some of the units I have marching off didn't. I'll have to steel myself to read some rather boring stuff so that I'm right and you don't have to.
So the plot could go something like:
  1. introduce the young wife and her husband
  2. husband marches off to defend New York and promptly gets killed. 
  3. wife is distraught and therefor willing to risk it all by spying on the invading army. Can introduce various turncoats, semi-turncoats, and legitimate agents, with a series of mistakes.
  4. Donop marches south from Bordentown to deal with the South Jersey rising. The south jersey rising was a combination of militia and the Philadelphia associators initiating a series of small battles in late November and early December 1776.
  5. She and Donop fiddle while Trenton burns. How far do they go?
  6. A romantic redux. Either a dashing Hessian who joins the rebels (they did, about 1/4 of the Hessians ended up staying in the USA. Mostly they were prisoners who liked what they found, but not all), a handsome rebel soldier, or possibly her dead husband isn't quite dead.  I have to think this out.